The Western Australian Farmers Federation (Inc.) (WAFarmers) and the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance (WRRA) have welcomed the inclusion of Tier 3 rail in the Liberal Party’s agricultural policy.
WRRA Co-ordinator, Jane Fuchsbichler, said it was a step in the right direction that the Liberal Party has acknowledged the importance of Tier 3 rail and included it in its agricultural policy.
“We welcome the news however, we need a commitment that, if elected, the Premier will meet with the CBH Group immediately to address this issue,” Mrs Fuchsbichler said.
“CBH know how the lines are operating and what they can do. We need to get the Tier 3 issue resolved well before harvest and the 31 October closure deadline.
“CBH have shown they can reduce freight rates on Tier 3 lines, rail freight is now cheaper than road transport at Tier 3 bins, add to this road safety issues and social benefits the case for keeping grain on Tier 3 is compelling.”
Mrs Fuchsbichler said it was very disappointing that Minister for Transport, Hon Troy Buswell, had not accepted many invitations to visit the Tier 3 rail area.
WAFarmers President, Dale Park, said freight is a major farm cost for growers.
“Tier 3 rail impacts on the areas which are suffering financial pressure and to increase freight rates due to closure of Tier 3 would impact greatly and increase cost pressure on these growers with already tight budgets,” Mr Park said.
Mr Park said whichever party or parties formed government, there is a need to develop a long term plan so that the grain rail network is catered for.
“This is not purely an issue for agriculture and farmers; this is an issue for road users across the state. Transporting grain via trucks increases traffic on our roads and we have seen over the past few months a number of traffic incidents between passenger vehicles and grain trucks,” Mr Park concluded.